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Ban Teaching Creationism Or Intelligent Design In Public Schools - Sign Petition


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As a biology teacher, this is a really hot topic for me.   A petition has been started at whitehouse.gov asking for a ban on the teaching of creationism or intelligent design in public high schools.  (On a side note - it was interesting to see some of the other petitions).

 

I don't know how much good it will do, but it certainly won't hurt.  It takes a couple of steps - you have to create an account at whitehouse.gov for example and wait for a confirmation email - but it walks you through the steps pretty easily.

 

If this is something you feel like doing - please click below to be taken to the site.

 

Sign Petition

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Banning forms of teaching sounds like censorship to me. Isn't there some better approach? One such might be to let the education system give itself enough rope to hang itself, then wait for the revolution in the education system.

 

<<now treated as scientific fact by 99.9% of all scientists>>

 

This is simply not true. For one thing, the careful scientist will insist that there is no such thing as scientific fact. For another, I studied geology in the late 1980's and and met all the creationists - and my palaeontology [which studies the fossil record] lecturer was one such - doing that subject that I had ever met in my life. Three, to be precise.

 

And there is much about the emergence of species on this planet that fits neither the creationist nor the Darwinian model.

 

BTW I don't wish to go on as I have seen people on this group get derided as Young Earth Creationists and subjected to abuse for saying anything that doesn't conform to their view of what science is and what it should be. You'll have to google the dissident views yourselves. The best commentators on this subject - and I don't include among them creationists - are to be found among the interventionists; they present truly fascinating and compelling cases.

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its not censorship if they wanted to teach it as a philosophy course that would be different but ID and Creationism is not a science and should not be taught as such.

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its not censorship if they wanted to teach it as a philosophy course that would be different but ID and Creationism is not a science and should not be taught as such.

 

I don't think there is the suggestion that it will be taught as science -- more that science education will fade away. The danger I see is that Christians (and possibly other totalitarianistically minded groups) will point at your ban and say 'Well you banned this, so don't lecture us on banning <such-and-such else>'. that way, the world just gets worse and worse.

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Agreed, as a health science teacher, we cannot and should not teach ideas that make no reliable predictions, cannot be tested and require faith in some divine intelligent creative mechanism that cannot be found or identified. There is a place perhaps in the social sciences and in the arts to talk about religion and other forms of mythology and their cultural relevance.

 

Also, people are correct in that there is much that science has yet to explain. However, instead of resorting to putting trust and faith into something that cannot be tested or verified by any known means, why not simply say "we don't know?" It happens all the time in science, yet it seems people are so terrified of admitting ignorance they mandate we fill the gaps with faith.

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The more recent Federal court interpretations of the Establishment Clause already essentially ban teaching Creationism or ID in the context of a science class, right? I realize that doesn't stop some teachers from still doing it anyway, but it doesn't mean that another ban on top of the constitutional one will be any more effective at stopping it.

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its not censorship if they wanted to teach it as a philosophy course that would be different but ID and Creationism is not a science and should not be taught as such.

 

I don't think there is the suggestion that it will be taught as science -- more that science education will fade away. The danger I see is that Christians (and possibly other totalitarianistically minded groups) will point at your ban and say 'Well you banned this, so don't lecture us on banning <such-and-such else>'. that way, the world just gets worse and worse.

 

Well here in the States to where this ban applies they are trying to teach it as a "SCIENCE" class to replace biology and evolution. Its not a matter of you banned this we can ban that its about using deceptive practices to substitute religion for science.

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Signed it. Can you hear the whining cries of persecution already?

 

"Stop persecuting us by not allowing us to force our religion down everyone else's throats!"

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its not censorship if they wanted to teach it as a philosophy course that would be different but ID and Creationism is not a science and should not be taught as such.

 

I don't think there is the suggestion that it will be taught as science -- more that science education will fade away. The danger I see is that Christians (and possibly other totalitarianistically minded groups) will point at your ban and say 'Well you banned this, so don't lecture us on banning <such-and-such else>'. that way, the world just gets worse and worse.

 

 

They can teach it in a religion/mythology class with other creation myths. 

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Banning forms of teaching sounds like censorship to me. Isn't there some better approach? One such might be to let the education system give itself enough rope to hang itself, then wait for the revolution in the education system.

 

 

I'm not talking about banning forms of teaching - I'm talking about banning incorrect content.  We don't allow teachers to teach students that the earth is flat, or that diseases are caused by punishment from god, or the moon is made of cheese, etc. We have evidence (proof) that these are fallacies.  Creationism and intelligent design do not fall under the realm of science because they have no evidence to back them up. Science doesn't claim to have all of the answers (in contrast to religion). 

 

And there have been enough stories in the news about right-wing christian fundamentalists doing everything they can to get creationism/intelligent design into science classrooms by any means they can.  I recently viewed the documentary "The Revisionaries" (you can read about it below) which shows the methods tried in Texas to get religion into the science classroom.

 

The Revisionaries

 

I live in VA, home to Liberty University (also mentioned in the film).  Interestingly, their biology dept. is not accredited because they won't teach evolution. However, their educational program is.  SO - you can graduate with a teaching degree (accredited) even though your major (biology) is from an unaccredited program.  Their goal is to get their teachers into public schools and public education.

 

 I'm not sure how to respond to your following statements:

 

SciWalker:

"<<now treated as scientific fact by 99.9% of all scientists>>"

"This is simply not true. For one thing, the careful scientist will insist that there is no such thing as scientific fact."

 

Biology today IS evolutionary biology, and the vast majority of scientists accept it based on the overwhelming evidence we have -  knowing that specific details may be modified or changed if new evidence is discovered. That's how science works.  My high school students need to understand that.   There is no place for religion in a science class - under any guise.

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 I'm not sure how to respond to your following statements:

 

SciWalker:

"<<now treated as scientific fact by 99.9% of all scientists>>"

"This is simply not true. For one thing, the careful scientist will insist that there is no such thing as scientific fact."

 

Biology today IS evolutionary biology, and the vast majority of scientists accept it based on the overwhelming evidence we have -  knowing that specific details may be modified or changed if new evidence is discovered. That's how science works.  My high school students need to understand that.   There is no place for religion in a science class - under any guise.

 

 

 

 

 

The conceptual distinctions on this subject can get quite fine; while natural selection is indisputable, I don't think Darwinian theory is the full answer as to what gave rise to the diversity of species around us. Evolutionary theory isn't strictly biology - it's metabiology; and while there are indubitably streaks of truth in Darwinian theory, I urge you to check out what interventionism is all about (Lloyd Pye is the big name in that subject - his research is truly remarkable - but as I say, I am deliberately leaving people here to Google it themselves) and if you retain, or are able to rediscover, a spiritual streak in you, then Bergson's Creative Evolution, which won the 1927 Nobel Prize for Literature, gives some pointers as to what kind of ideas are still worth toying with. For things to get anywhere, you need, in his view, a nonphysical life force. I kind of agree, because otherwise things just move inexorably back to equilibrium, a la second law of thermodynamics.

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Schools have technically been banned from teaching it since 1776. That hasn't stopped them. The best we can do, is keep reinforcing the idea of teaching evidence based science in schools, and not theology and mythology in science class.

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 I'm not sure how to respond to your following statements:

 

SciWalker:

"<<now treated as scientific fact by 99.9% of all scientists>>"

"This is simply not true. For one thing, the careful scientist will insist that there is no such thing as scientific fact."

 

Biology today IS evolutionary biology, and the vast majority of scientists accept it based on the overwhelming evidence we have -  knowing that specific details may be modified or changed if new evidence is discovered. That's how science works.  My high school students need to understand that.   There is no place for religion in a science class - under any guise.

 

 

 

 

 

The conceptual distinctions on this subject can get quite fine; while natural selection is indisputable, I don't think Darwinian theory is the full answer as to what gave rise to the diversity of species around us. Evolutionary theory isn't strictly biology - it's metabiology; and while there are indubitably streaks of truth in Darwinian theory, I urge you to check out what interventionism is all about (Lloyd Pye is the big name in that subject - his research is truly remarkable - but as I say, I am deliberately leaving people here to Google it themselves) and if you retain, or are able to rediscover, a spiritual streak in you, then Bergson's Creative Evolution, which won the 1927 Nobel Prize for Literature, gives some pointers as to what kind of ideas are still worth toying with. For things to get anywhere, you need, in his view, a nonphysical life force. I kind of agree, because otherwise things just move inexorably back to equilibrium, a la second law of thermodynamics.

 

 

What you are introducing here is way beyond high school biology.   I live in the bible belt, and  am simply worried about the continued (and seemingly increasing) attempts  in state after state to try and pass measures to allow religious beliefs to be taught alongside science as if they were equally valid, or to undermine the science itself. 

 

What you have mentioned above would need to be a topic unto itself.  Those ideas are definitely not in the mainstream - and in all honesty, they are a little too "out there" for me. 

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I think it should be a lesson taught in Science classes, and here's why:

 

 

It's a perfect opportunity to teach this and explain why it's not Science just because some dumbass says so. I would totally have a day of Creationism in a Science class I was teaching and I'd say 'and this is stupid because...' a whole lot that day.

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The problem with invoking the second law of thermodynamics is that it applies to a closed system. The Earth is far from a closed system. In fact, this vital life energy force can be understood in terms of good old well known energy. The Earth happens to be a favourable environment for complex Carbon chemistry and it happens to receive a bunch of energy from the sun. That energy fuels the complex biochemistry that occurrs here on Earth.

 

Regarding Darwinian theory, it has changed significantly since it was first introduced. In fact, with our knowledge of modern genetics and our understanding of DNA and RNA, evolutionary theory has never been stronger and is able to explain fundamental biological questions better than ever. It is such a powerful theory, it is considered a foundational pillar of modern biology.

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The accepted model for biology right now is evolution to push forward an untested and untestable philosophical hypothesis is just bad education. Kids should be given the foundation of what we know exists and be given the opportunity to expand their knowledge from there. If as adults they want to explore creationism or they want to learn it as teenagers let them explore that in church where it belongs. If you are a Christian what is wrong with learning about god at church?

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Banning forms of teaching sounds like censorship to me. Isn't there some better approach?

 

It's not censorship when you refuse to teach impressionable kids something that is scientifically unproven; better, disproven. 

 

They still have a right to free speech.  That doesn't give them a right to free indoctrination of our kids.

 

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I thought it was already banned.  Even in Kansastan.  What am I missing? 

 

Here are just 3 articles of many I found with a simple Google search of "states pushing creationism".  

 

Creationism in Schools: It's Making A Comeback

 

Creationism In Schools Again.  And Again....

 

Four US States Considering Laws That Challenge Teaching of Evolution

 

Yes, it is illegal to teach creationism in public schools.  However, that doesn't keep determined christian fundamentalists from trying various ways to do it anyway. And we have to also wonder how many teachers - especially in bible belt states - are interjecting their own religious beliefs into the classroom and no one is complaining about it because (for now) all the students and their parents agree.   I worked with a biology teacher as recently as 5 years ago who taught evolution, but when her students said they didn't believe it, she would say, "I don't either, but you need to know this for the (state) test!"  49.gif

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Creationism or ID is clearly a religious belief that relies on a supernatural intervention. Science studies the natural world, not the supernatural. I can't even see how there could be any debate on this.

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In Science what you believe is irrelevant, only what you can argue and provide evidence for matters.

 

That's exactly how I deal with the subject when confronted by one of 'the chosen people'. It's a remarkably effective tactic for dealing with pushy morons I've found. They tend to give up when their assumptions and idiocy are immediately removed from the equation.

 

'I believe' is not a valid argument and does not constitute evidence, and therefore is not grounds for making something Scientific. That's why ID and Creationism is not and should not be taught in Science classes. It's not a matter of opinion. There's not enough, if any, evidence to support it and as a result it is not a Scientific idea and does not belong in a Science course. How true or not true it is doesn't matter. Even if the idea is correct, it still has no Scientific basis and therefore does not belong in the class at all.

 

I'm also fond of 'you are only entitled to what you can argue for' when 'everyone is entitled to their opinion' enters the discussion. It's usually implied that further argument would be considered offensive or ignored, and it's fun to see the expressions they get when you say that to them. I've yet to encounter an effective rebuttal against that one.

 

Honestly, my goal is not to convince idiots to change their beliefs when I end up discussing something like ID or Creationism, but rather to get them to shut the hell up and go away without making myself look like a huge asshole and feeding their persecution complexes doing it. The most common attempt at rebuttal is something along the lines of "This isn't a Science/Philosophy class", to which I simply reply "...and that excuses poor reasoning and baseless arguments because...?"

 

For some odd reason there seems to be some sort of belief that the absence of a formal setting means that faulty arguments are acceptable. I see no reason to humor such 'reasoning' if it can indeed be called such a thing.

 

I refuse to accept the premise of 'you have to respect everyone's opinion' at all. Like the video I posted earlier says, I do not have to do any such thing, and no one should do any such thing. I have an obligation to say 'No. That's fucking stupid! Why would you think that? What is wrong with you?' The fact that I can and should not force someone to change their beliefs does not mean that I should simply accept them and not speak against them.

 

The biggest problem with 'freedom of belief' is that people confuse that with 'freedom to say whatever I want and not have anyone tell me that I'm wrong and that I'm an idiot for believing something so stupid' and 'freedom to ignore any valid argument and not consider possible alternatives because my belief says I'm right and no one should be able to argue with my belief'.

 

I get tired of these kinds of conversations quickly, but not confronting stupidity is worse than dealing with it. Most people won't change their beliefs, but they will stop talking to you after a while if you shut them down enough times. If left on it's own, they'll never stop and will continue to annoy you by never shutting up about it.

 

Stupid should not be left alone, it isn't smart enough to realize that it's being annoying and will simply continue to be an irritant until someone does something about it.

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I don't mean to keep beating a dead horse here, but I just found this article from the ACLU and it is CRAZY what has gone on in public schools this year!

 

An elementary school actually took students to the Creation Museum in Kentucky!

A biology teacher showed Creation Science Evangelism videos in class!!  Check it out below!

 

Creationism Follies: The 2012-2013 Edition

 

And my personal favorite from - you guessed it Vigile! - Kansas!! 

God's Gospel Lizards     WTF??

 

This stuff is happening!  And this is only the reported stuff!  How many more students are being cheated out of truth and knowledge in the name of religion that we don't even know about??  It makes me so angry!!  (Which you've probably been able to tell by now). 

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Whats worse is the voucher system is essentially being used as a loophole to get kids into private Christian academies so they can bypass state education standards and teach creationism/ID its happening in georgia

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